Immediately after two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers returned from Venezuela to their base in the Saratov region, a convoy of combat ships from the Northern Fleet set sail for the Caribbean. Why?
1. Which ships are heading for Venezuela?
The Northern Fleet's nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Peter the Great, the Admiral Chabanenko anti-submarine ship and several other ships that will handle intelligence, technical and other tasks.
2. What is the combat potential of the Peter the Greet and Admiral Chabanenko ships?
Peter the Great is one of the world's most powerful destroyers. The ship can defeat large enemy surface targets and protect itself and its ships from air strikes and submarines. The ship has unlimited cruising endurance and is equipped with cruise missiles able to destroy targets at a distance up to 500 kilometers and anti-aircraft missile systems. In terms of firepower, the cruiser is peerless and equipped with Granit anti-ship missiles (20 missile launchers), a S-300F anti-aircraft system (96 missiles) and a Kinzhal anti-aircraft system.
The ship is armed with a Kashtan gun-missile integrated weapon system that safeguards against various weapons, including anti-ship and anti-radar missiles, air bombs and planes. The ship also has 130-millimeter multi-target "AK-130" gunmounts (840 shells) with a range capability of up to 22 kilometers. Three helicopters can be carried on board.
As a main weapon for attack, the Chabanenko has an anti-ship system with Moskit missiles, two Kinzhal rocket launcher systems (64 missiles) and a Kortik rocket launcher system to protect against air attacks.
The ship also has an anti-submarine system with two quadrupled torpedo launchers. The ship is equipped with two helicopters to conduct intelligence in the air.
3. Which naval force could defend itself against us in the event of a war?
In terms of military might, Peter the Great and Admiral Chabanenko exceed all the fleets in North and South America combined — withstanding U.S. ships. Peter the Great has strategic nuclear arms, and that's enough in and of itself to sink two or three enemy cruisers.
Of course, Russia's admirals are categorically against discussing these issues for political reasons. Only one sailor who asked to go unnamed answered my question directly about whether Peter the Great has nuclear arms. "Who'll let the ship go to sea without them!?" he said
4. What tasks will our ships handle at the Nov. 10-14 naval trainings?
There are several assignments facing our ships: joint maneuvering in Venezuela's territorial waters and neutral regional waters. Developing various connections (in English, which has forced our officers to study English astutely), combating terrorist ships and pirates and ship-saving operations. In addition, there are plans to hold artillery and missile fire trainings in neutral waters.
5. What practical use will the Russian-Venezuelan trainings have?
First and foremost, the maneuvers mean a great deal militarily and politically for both countries. Further military cooperation between Moscow and Caracas will be a major power factor in the region. Russian naval and air forces approaching U.S. territory is an adequate response to U.S. and NATO military bases and objects encroaching our borders. In such a way, Russia is trying to achieve a strategic balance and is letting Washington know that Moscow is able to defend its interests.
6. How are U.S. politicians and military personnel reacting to Russian ships approaching U.S. shores? They are reacting differently. An official White House representative recently refuted Moscow's military might, asking where Russia would find ships that could approach U.S. shores in the first place. The U.S. military is seemingly calm about our ships heading to the Caribean, saying it's nothing out of the ordinary.
However, Russia has all the ships it needs and they have the right to sail seas and oceans. The Pentagon's calmness is only a facade. The U.S. navy has a lot more to worry about now. And U.S. civilians are hardly enthused about Russian ships sailing nearby with nuclear weapons.
When Peter the Great was Andropov
The nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Peter the Great was originally called the Yuriy Andropov. The ship was built in 1986 and set sail three years later. The ship only entered the Northern Fleet in March 1998. The delay was due to a lack of stable financing for construction and trials over 10 years. The total cost of the cruiser was $1 billion.
In spring 1999, Peter the Great took part in the sailing campaign of 30 combat ships during the conflict in Yugoslavia. In August 2001, the ship participated in the strategic trainings of three fleets in which the Kursk submarine perished. In June 2003, the ship headed joint trainings of the Northern and Baltic fleets.
Читать русскую версию: «Русский кулак» под брюхом Америки